We have kicked this around some, here and there on different threads but I don't think we really got into details. Here's my take on Remingtons prolific M722/721 & 700 rifles.
I grew up in southern Missouri where, if you didn't own a Remington, folks thought there was something wrong with ya. In some parts it was the same way about Fords, in others it was Chevys but it was always Remingtons.
They were 722s or 721s in those days but the fundamental chassis of the Remington has remained the same in my lifetime. I have seen a lot of Remington rifles. To be quite honest I have seen very few failures with them. Rarely ever does anything break, they almost never wear out even when abused and when we screw up very badly they are so strong they save our but. Also when any of my friends who were involved in a shooting accident, folks never blamed the rifle always the loose nut behind the trigger, appropriately so. These rifles were, by mathmatical numbers, mostly Remingtons or rehashed war souvignirs or sometimes not altered much a all. This was pretty much dirt poor, hard working, country folks who didn't have much cash for anything but the least expensive and, as we did whether buying used farm machinery or old cars, we made things work. This philosophy applied to guns when we could get money enough to buy something other than a second hand Marlin or a war relic, it was usually a Remington. This was pre Ruger days and pre 64 Winchester days so good bolt rifles were beyond the reach of us farm boys for many years.
When I began to get older and away from the country I began to see the sort of rifles used in European and African coutries where different political climates pressed individual ownership and placed greater demands on a rifle. This was due to numerical restrictions and no allowance for trading and jocking around with guns and only the most durable and reliable were worth owning.
To jump ahead, lets look at what we, generally as a group of gurus, think are the greatest attributes of a good quality hunting rifle. We can exclude such tasteful things as hand rubbed french walnut stocks and high polish blue steel finishes. These are not functional and actually add to the up keep of the rifle. Lets look at the design and lets steer clear of the discussion of strength. I want to do that for several reasons. First there are very few bolt rifles around today that are by design of inferior strength. Steel and metalurgical science has pretty much made all guns much stronger than the Mauser brothers ever dreamed of making.
Lets look at such things as triggers, extractors, ejectors, safeties and design features that add such things as smooth wobbly free bolt travel and smooth reliable feeding. In the design we nust consider the designed in strength of lock up and ruptured case gas handling, but not so much is the diameter of the front ring or the locking lug area because these are things that haven't failed in 100 years of bolt actions so we don't need to dwell on them. Also whether forged, milled or cast or which combination works best, not an issue if the design is flawed from the start.
Each design will have some features that somebody likes, no doubt. Such as push feeders and belted cartridges seem to be smoother than claw extractors with the belts. Aesthetics and ergonomics such as the size and placement of the safety lever are individual issues but no part of this study. The functionality of each of these levers and the accessability of them is at issue here. Functionality not aesthetics.
I don't like Remingtons. I don't dislike them, I just don't want to own them. Most of the guns I've handled in my lifetime have been Remingtons, most were fine rifles and all were worth the purchase price.
I like a claw extractor and a mechanical ejector, not a plunger. I like a simple open trigger that I can adjust and hone the cutting edges to my liking, not a works in a drawer inaccessable stamped steel, riveted box, with all the critical working parts inside.
I like two big locking lugs up front just like Paul designed it. Unlike Pauls 98 I want bolt guide rails that are smooth or can be polished smooth with machined in bolt stabilizing guides to make the full bolt travel smooth and wobble free. I want a safety lever that is accessable but not obtrusive and it must lock and arrest the strikers fall even if the trigger is broken off the rifle. This is a positive safety, not some flimsy stamped steel lever that pushes a sliver of sintered iron between the trigger and the sear.
I like a rifle made of steel with steel parts. I want steel one piece bottom metal and a hinged steel floorplate with a positive latch that won't spill the magazine contents under even the toughest of recoil. I want a rifle to look like a rifle and more improtantly I want it to feel like a rifle and handle like a rifle and shoot like a rifle should. (how's that of hillbilly grammar?)
Other than that I still like hand rubbed walnut and deep blued steel, but we aren't gonna talk about that.